Stephen Curry had by far his best performance of the postseason in Sunday's 126-85 win, but Houston Rockets center Clint Capela thinks it was just bad defense that led to the Golden State Warriors star's explosion in Game 3.
While Curry scored 35 points in the 41-point blowout compared to just 34 combined in the first two games of the Western Conference Finals, the guard apparently had little to do with the change.
"I don't think there was a difference," Capela said about Curry, per Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated. "During the three games [this series], he just kept playing. Tonight, he just had open looks at the three and just shot it. But the first two games, he didn't have open looks from three. Tonight, he just made them."
The center also noted his own ability to defend Curry.
"If I'm close to him when he's shooting threes, he's not going to make threes," Capela added. "Whenever he got a little separation, that is why he made threes. Not really [worried]."
The Rockets tend to switch often on defense, which could create matchups with the 6'10" Capela lining up against the 6'3" Curry. While the two-time MVP has the ability to make a shot from nearly anywhere on the floor, this type of length could still frustrate him anywhere on the court.
On the other hand, Houston has its best player to blame for leaving Curry and Kevin Durant open, per ESPN Stats & Info:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
James Harden's 16 plays as a primary defender trailed only Chris Paul (19) for most on the Rockets. Curry (4-6 FG) and Durant (3-4 FG) finished a combined 7-10 when defended by Harden. Of the 8 field goals that the Warriors made against Harden, 5 were layups or dunks.
This allowed Curry to finish 13-of-23 from the field in Game 3, including 5-of-12 from three-point range. He had been just 2-of-13 from deep in the first two games of the series combined.
While the five-time All-Star is seemingly still recovering from a knee injury that kept him out of the first round of the playoffs and the final few weeks of the regular season, Sunday's game showed that he is still healthy enough to dominate if given the opportunity.
If the Rockets want to even the series in Game 4 Tuesday, they will need to take Capela's advice and prevent Curry from getting open shots.